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Experiment to Find out the factors that effect resistance in a Wire

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Physics, science 1 Investigation- Experiment to Find out the factors that effect resistance in a Wire

Scientific Basis

An electrical current can pass through a metal because the electrons in the outer shell of the wires’ atoms are allowed to flow freely throughout the wire. So when you place a Cathode (negatively charged) on one end of a wire and an Anode (positively charged) on the other and allow an electrical current to pass through, the electrons can move freely between the Anode and the Cathode

        Resistance occurs when the negatively charged electrons travelling through a wire a wire, from the Cathode to the Anode, collide with the atoms of the wire.

        There are several factors that affect the level of resistance produced by a wire, these are:

  • Temperature; when the atoms and the wire are heated up, the atoms will vibrate because of their increase in energy. This will cause an increase in collisions because there is more chance of the atoms getting in the path of an electron and there being a collision. This increase in collisions will increase the resistance in a wire.
  • Material;
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Wire Width; if the wires width is increased the resistance will decrease. This is because of the increase in the space for the electrons to travel through. Due to this increased space between the atoms there should be fewer collisions. Due to this the width increase should be inversely proportional to the resistance increase.


        I will run through how I would measure each of the variables and then decide explain why I am choosing the variables that I will test

         For the temperature I would not be able to carry out a fair test because it is very difficult to do and I do not have the correct apparatus.

        To measure material I would get several different kinds of metal wire; Copper, Nickel and Constantine. I would make sure, using a micrometer, that all the pieces of metal are the same width and by using a ruler I would make sure that all the wires are the same length. I would then do the experiment five times for

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I think that if the width increases the resistance will decrease in proportion to the change in width. I believe this because the wider the wire the more paths the electrons can take. So if the width doubles the resistance will half because the amount of “channels” the electrons can take will double thus halving the chance of the electrons colliding with an atom.

Measurements and Ranges

        For the length I will start at 10cm and go all the way to 50cm measuring at 10cm intervals.

        For the width I will range from 0.2mm to 0.7mm measuring at 0.1mm intervals.


        For this experiment I will need; one power pack, several different lengths of wire, several different thickness’ of wire, crocodile clips, metre ruler, micrometer, Voltmeter and Ammeter.



        To keep the experiment safe we will wear safety goggles, use a low voltage current, only turn the power on when the experiment is completely set up, always make sure that the power is always turned off after use, place heat proof mats at points that can get hot and never handle water or other liquids while using the apparatus.

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